NEW YORK: The ugly family feud surrounding the treatment of famed 104-year-old New York City socialite Brooke Astor has experienced crisis counselors struggling to control the media frenzy.
Fraser Seitel, president of Emerald Partners, is representing Annette de la Renta, a friend of the family who was named Astor's temporary guardian after Astor's grandson Philip Marshall accused her son, Anthony Marshall, of mistreating her through neglect.
Seitel is also handling communications for longtime clients David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger, who gave affidavits in the case as friends of Brooke Astor.
Citigate Sard Verbinnen's Brooke Morganstein is representing Anthony Marshall, who has been the subject of heavy negative press.
More than ten New York Times reporters have written bylines on the case so far.
Seitel said the case has generated so much scrutiny because of the confluence of a beloved socialite and philanthropist, wealth, and the specter of elder abuse.
Seitel has advised his clients to "take the high road" by limiting their public statements, but being available through him. He contrasted that low-key strategy with the actions of Anthony Marshall, who has made public appearances and lashed out at family members who are accusing him of wrongdoing.
"[Sard] has obviously counseled him to go out and be more aggressive," Seitel said. "That seems to be the wrong strategy."
Morganstein declined to comment.